have in relation to progesterone. An imbalance can occur when the ovaries are producing too much oestrogen, or not enough progesterone to counteract it.”
Other symptoms of oestrogen dominance include swollen breasts, headaches, carb cravings, heavy periods and irritability.
“Progesterone levels decrease over time,” says Dr Galy. “Usually, this begins in a woman’s early thirties, with some noticing symptoms, such as weight gain, immediately, because only a slight drop in progesterone is enough to exacerbate an existing mild imbalance.”
The most important step to correcting a hormone imbalance is to tailor your diet to your cycle. “Modify your sugar intake by eating a Low GI (Glycaemic Index) menu,” urges Dr Galy. “When you take in sugars, the body produces insulin, causing the ovaries to secrete more oestrogen. So: less sugar, less insulin, less oestrogen.”
“In the second two weeks when hormone levels are rising, avoid food containing phytoestrogens,” says Dr Galy. The main culprits are soy (avoid soy milk and tofu), and soy-based, processed products (processed foods tend to have a high GI anyway).
So what can you eat? “Fill your diet with green vegetables, like kale, broccoli and cauliflower, which help metabolise excess oestrogen. Green tea is also effective,” adds Dr Galy.
The good news: hormones can help burn fat, too. “A low-carb diet will decrease the activity of the alpha receptors, increasing effectiveness of the fat-burning beta receptors,” says Dr Teta. “Supplements, such as green-coffee extract, promote fat burning in more stubborn areas.”
Fundamentally, without hormones you wouldn’t have any kind of womanly shape. But, if your bottom has become a bigger issue than you would like, understanding your hormones can help put you in control of your curves.
“The most important step to CORRECTING a hormone IMBALANCE: TAILOR your DIET to your CYCLE ”
Women with sagging triceps may be suffering from a lack of relative testosterone. As well as weight training, boost your healthy-fat intake by eating oily fish and avocado.
As cortisol rises and progesterone falls, women develop fat storage at the waist. Decreasing stress by engaging in cortisol-lowering exercise, like yoga, Tai Chi, and meditation can help, as will short, high-intensity cardio.
Insulin is particularly instrumental in causing puffiness and water retention. Avoid refined sugars and processed foods; opt for a diet packed with wholegrains and fresh fruit and vegetables.credits
Photographs: Simon Vinall